Why Don't You Call?
Minako dried her face and looked up at the mirror, raising a hand to wipe the film that covered it. She stared back at the face, flushed from the steam of a shower that was too hot. She looked positively orange, a nice change from the yellow that normally tinged her skin. She opened the cabinet and reached for her toothbrush, ignoring the soft buzzing from her pile of clothes. She knew who was calling, and knew it was too late to answer. As she gargled mouthwash her eyes took a peak, but the phone was tucked away in the pocket of her jeans, safely hidden. It was just as well, she lifted the bundle of long hair and dumped it in the trash. She snatched the blue towel from her head and rubbed it over the short, blond locks.
She pulled it down slowly, facing the reflection in the mirror. Same blue eyes, like the night sky; hair the color of straw. She brushed her bangs to the side of her forehead as she usually wore them, ends curling towards her pink lips, and ran her fingers through the jagged strands. Ends flipped up, running in different directions, wild and crazy in a moment of weakness. In the morning they would be smoothed into place with a firm hand; quietly subdued.
Quickly she grabbed her clothes and ducked into her bedroom. Her roommate hated when she ran around naked, though he wasn't home. The only towel she had was already wet and he refused to let her borrow his. A small smile crept across her face as she closed the door behind her, this was one thing that she hoped wouldn't change as long as they lived together. Smile gone, she thought of everything else that had.
They were friends up until an hour ago, now they only shared the apartment because he couldn't afford the rent alone. He'd lied to her and made her believe she'd get the bigger bedroom and bathroom, that the commute to work was only five minutes and therefore prime apartment material. He failed to mention the fact that all of his super heavy belongings were already set up in the big room, and that none of his other friends wanted to live with him because he could be a real asshole. He hogged everything, would make her late to work by taking two hours to get his stupid hair perfect every morning, and kept drinking all her milk.
Her friends had warned her, she shouldn't get into this kind of situation with her crush. He was untouchable, because if they got together and broke up she'd have no where to live, and he was also sort of her boss. Team Lead was the name of the position, and though he didn't have the authority to fire her, he had the worst temper. The man could make your life such a hell you'd quit all on your own.
She pulled on a shirt and pajama bottoms, stumbling as she got her second leg through. Her phone vibrated from the nightstand.
His girlfriend was also another problem. The jealous type, she was furious when Minako moved in. It was the only thing she could one-up the tight-ass on, as his lady was perfect in every way. She was also religious, and didn't believe in a man and a woman living together before marriage. So it was thanks to the frigid bitch that Minako was able to be close to him for the year and a half they'd been sharing the apartment. Secretly, she'd hoped they'd break up, or that he would realize Minako herself was his true love and dump her.
But at this point in the game it was clearly impossible, neither wish would ever happen. Rei suggested she lie about being pregnant with his baby, to get rid of the girlfriend but when Minako considered doing it she realized that the risk was too great - he'd find out and hate her forever. She decided she'd rather live with him in silence. This was why she could never choose anything, it was too hard, and it seemed she was always wrong no matter what.
With a sigh, she pulled back the covers on her ridiculous bed. What grown woman had a twin-sized bed in their room? Right, the jerk forced her into a year-long lease with a bedroom the size of a closet. Then she renewed it with him like an idiot. Minako lifted her phone, turning it face-down; a sudden wave of pain overcame her, forcing her on her knees. She doubled over, trying not to scream out loud as she grabbed her stomach. In what seemed like hours, it faded away; she gasped for air, wiping her eyes.
"Is it that time of the month already?" she recalled the epidural she had last year to relieve the pain, how it was so bad she collapsed and had to explain to everyone at work that it was nothing serious; she blocked it from her mind with a shake of her head.
She drug herself into bed and settled in, smacking her pillow and getting comfortable. His face filled her vision as she closed her eyes, a look of disappointment crossing his timeless features. Her eyes snapped open, glancing at the so-called smartphone next to her. She thought of checking the voice mails he was leaving, no doubt filled with the raging fires of hell.
"Hello, everyone! I am Aino Minako, and this is my first day! Please take care of me!" she bowed low, smiling at the linoleum-threadbare carpet partition. There were lots of cute guys in this area of the building.
"Alright! Someone cute for once!"
"You're getting your hair dirty," came a stolid voice. Minako stood quickly, brushing her long hair back. She came face-to-face with a man her age, bent down to her height. He straightened up, readjusting his blazer. Blue eyes stared hard at her, and she found herself growing uncomfortable.
"It's very long." he said, lifting a hand to his own head. They stood in silence, unsure of what to say until someone else came up with the day's mail. He handed several envelopes to the mystery man and gave a small wave to Minako, gently pushing them apart as his cart came between them and down the small aisle of desks.
"Aino? You're with me, we've got only a week to get you up to speed. Also, please try and save your fraternization with idiots outside of the workplace. All they know about advertising is beer and sports."
The woman with glasses and twin buns grabbed her arm gently, pulling her away from the testosterone-filled department. Minako turned, getting one last look at the man with eyes like her own. They were still on her.
Minako tossed her head violently, only stopping when it slammed against the wall. She groaned, sitting up and rocking it in her arms. She couldn't think about him, it only made her heart hurt like her head. She hopped up, and immediately fell, getting caught up in the sheets and tiny comforter. Her head hit the floor with a loud thud, and she became blind in her pain. She crawled out slowly, inching towards her bureau.
"Aspirin...please be there..." her hand dug around the top drawer, and came up with nothing. She recalled her roommate asking for some the week before. As usual, that which she lent him became a nonrefundable gift.
"You're such an ass!"
"You're crazy, you know that?" Minako stated in a matter-of-fact sort of way, pointing a finger at her roommate. "No wonder nobody else will live with you! I can't believe I ignored everyone when they tried to warn me! What is wrong with me?!"
He looked up at her with those eyes and shrugged.
"Please! Just put a shirt on for me! Please!" she was not above begging, and if it came to it, she would bribe him.
She tried not to stare at his body too long, or take note of the fact that he wore briefs instead of boxers, real man's underwear. She'd never thought of briefs looking good on a man until she'd seen him walk out of his bathroom wearing them. Only them.
"Your girlfriend will gladly murder me in cold blood if you don't put on some clothes! Why do you have to provoke her? She'll be here, in like, five minutes!" she looked up at the clock on their TiVo in disdain.
"You're such a fucking asshole!"
His room was dark and empty as she rummaged around his desk, where he normally kept his medicine. She felt weird coming in here, and had only been inside when he wanted her opinion on what suit to wear, which seldom happened as he thought her taste in clothing was atrocious. She laughed out loud in triumph as she lifted the small white bottle.
She shook it gently, and no sound came. She frowned, pressing down hard on the cap and twisting it open. She reached a finger in, hearing the sound of paper rustling. She pulled it out and opened it, holding her still-buzzing phone to light it. A nearly illegible scrawl, clearly Heero's hand:
"You're too late,"
She observed the little drawing underneath the sentence. His face smirked at her, tongue sticking out. "I really hate you, do you know that?"
"What the fuck? Didn't you see the tie on the door?" Minako stared with wide eyes, trying to erase the scene from her mind as much as possible. She shot a dark look at the inconspicuous black tie as it hung from the knob, blending in with the dark green door. Dropping her groceries, she slammed it shut and ran to her bedroom, ignoring his angry shouts. She locked the door and drew the bolt, installed when their apartment was broken into three months before. Surely he wouldn't get through it, and she'd be damned if she had to find a place to stay because he wanted to do it on the couch with his girlfriend.
Didn't women like that only do it in bed anyway? What was the girl thinking, going against her stereotype? Minako kicked off her heels and dove under the bed, shoving all of the clothes and worn out shoes until she found her iPod. She'd dropped it down the wall side and hadn't wanted to bother with it before, until now, as she furiously shoved the ear buds in and turned it on. She cranked up the volume, still laying on the floor under her bed, attempting to forget sex ever existing.
How dare that bitch defile the ugly leather couch they bought with their hard-earned money - and with her naked body! She'd never worked a day in her life, and goes around destroying other people's nice things. Minako absolutely hated those types of people! With their blue blood and surgically modified, perfect bodies. Minako turned the sound up higher as her roommate shouted through the door for her to give him the privacy he needed. 'Screw him', she thought as she grabbed an old sweater and turned it into a pillow. She was asleep in minutes, forgetting all about the produce and milk she'd dumped in the entryway.
"There's nothing wrong with me! I'm just a little depressed, everyone goes through it at some point in their life!" she yelled, grabbing her purse with such force the strap snapped, sending all of it's contents on a one-way ticket to the floor. She screamed in frustration, wishing her mother hadn't chosen now of all times to come and pester her. The two of them scrambled to pick everything up just as her roommate walked through the door. He stared at them as they paused in their pursuit for Minako's endless supply of makeup.
"Hello, sweetheart! Did you just get off of work?" Minako's mom stood, reaching forward to squeeze the life out of him. Since she'd turned fifty, Minako's mother made it a point to hug everyone she came across, even her daughter's roommate who never came by the apartment when parents of any kind were around. Clearly, there was ulterior motive.
"Minako and I were just talking, I came by when I heard she'd taken the week off. But look at you, so diligent! I bet you never skip a single day!" Minako glared at the woman's back as she continued stuffing her bag. She considered using the fire escape and leaving the asshole to fend for himself.
"Mom, can't you see he's worn out? Everyone's been really busy lately-"
"Oh hush! I'm just saying hi, and you could stand to learn a few things from him! We had the loveliest conversation just the other day, he has so many wonderful ideas! It would be good for you to spend some more time with him!" Minako stood dumbfounded, they had talked the other day? Since when did he talk to anyone over the age of thirty who wasn't filthy rich?
"Yes, dear. Honestly! He's the one who suggested I come by, since you haven't been doing so well. I mean, look at your complexion!" her mother stepped toward her, consternation wrinkling her already wrinkled face
"You've lost so much weight, he says you hardly eat and we all know what an appetite you normally have! There's also the..." she leaned forward, whispering the word 'vomit'. "Oh honey, you know I'm hard on you about your schooling and your job and the friends you hang out with because I worry about you. But you know I've never thought you were fat, nobody has! If you need help then we're here for-"
"I-I have to go! Bye, Mom!" she shouted, pushing past the both of them hard and stumbling out the door.
"On a scale of one to ten, how bad is the pain?" the nurse with the kind face looked at her, Minako found herself tempted to shove her IV up the woman's ass.
"When I get out of here, what do I tell everyone? This is so embarrassing, and since it happened at work they're going to want some kind of report on it and when everyone finds out it's because I'm on my period, I will die. Do you understand? My career in advertising is over and I will drop dead like a-"
"Miss Aino, you'll have to settle that with your office." the woman smiled, "I'm sure they'll be more than happy to let you foot the bill on this visit. Now, what type of pain would you say..."
With a loud bang, she threw the drawer shut, and kicked the side for good measure. As she walked around and over to the door she turned and pulled on his bed, yanking his sheets and fancy duvet cover out of place. Ironically, it was just the same way he shoved her life around for his own personal gain. With another bang, she shut his door, willing it to explode in a barrage of splinters. Her phone buzzed, one final time.
"Ah!" she screamed, loud and shrill, and threw it as hard as she possibly could. It hit the refrigerator, and the apartment fell silent.
She stomped a foot angrily and went to clean it up. Tiny plastic shards glistened under the florescent lights as she slumped to the floor and pulled the trash can closer. She held up part of the screen, cracked and flickering, trying it's very hardest to stay lit. As she stared at it a cry escaped her lips, and then another. She dropped it with the rest in the garbage, and covered her face as fat tears rolled down her face.
The front door shook, and she heard the sound of jingling keys coming from the other side. She hurried to finish picking up the pieces and tossed the trash can back into place. She wasn't ten feet from her bedroom when she felt her blood run cold.
"What - what are you doing here?"
"What the fuck, Minako?" he glared at her, and she tried not to shrink into her sheets or run into his arms, as badly as she felt the desire to do both.
"You sure picked a crap time to be throwing one of your tantrums." he snarled, stepping into their small living room and shutting the door with a frighteningly steady hand. He pulled at his tie, and flung it onto the sofa. She tried to ignore how handsome he looked in that particular suit. The shirt matched his eyes, and she loved his eyes.
"Have you forgotten how to speak? Or do you just not have an excuse for once?"
"You! I don't-"
"Shut up." he spat, "I don't even know what to think of you right now. You think you know someone. You were the only one not trying to break us up, but it turns out you're just a better liar than the others." she flinched, wishing she could die at this very moment.
"You have no idea how much you hurt Usagi, she thought I was cheating on her with you, this whole time! You two are supposed to be friends for God's sake. And ignoring my calls, when I'm trying to figure out what is going on in your head - forget that! I never have any idea what you're thinking or what you're going to do, and you choose my anniversary to bat from left."
It was always like this when he was pissed, his analogies never made any sense to her. She vaguely wondered if this was a sports thing. And the idea of being with her shouldn't be such a surprise, they'd been living together for a while now.
"For your information, she and I were never friends, you just assumed we were. She's too stuck up to acknowledge me!"
"Well, she certainly doesn't feel that way now, I can assure you! You tell me you love me, that you've loved me for a long time now, on the night I'm proposing to my girlfriend! Your little joke cost me! The only person you think of is yourself!"
"You - you couch hogging bastard! You just waltz around here all the time like you're so cool! Just drinking all the milk and - and," she was worried her anger would give out before she was done saying what she wanted and began to talk faster, "And asking the impossible of me all the time, always throwing all the work you don't want on me, and getting your big fancy promotion and not telling me you're moving to another department! But I guess it shouldn't really surprise me, you're screwing the big boss's daughter! And - and you! You must think I'm the biggest sucker in the universe, falling for your pretty words, backing you up on your insane ideas at work!"
Minako didn't bother wiping her face, knowing it was flushed and pinched in an ugly way, nose running like the wind. She wished she could just stop crying in front of him and keep a tight hold on the little dignity she had left.
"Don't even try your reverse psychology bullshit on me! You're too self-absorbed to even consider I might have meant what I said! You were going to propose to her and I knew if she accepted then you and I wouldn't be friends anymore! So excuse me for telling you how I feel! She's all wrong for you, why else would all of your friends be telling you to just end it with her?"
"So, I bet you think you're a real catch! Who do you think you're kidding? You're the most indecisive person I know! You can't make a single decision on your own, ever! How do I know you really feel that way about me when you don't even know how you feel about god damn cabbage!" the anger that marred his face was fading, he was never one for confrontation unless he was really pissed, but he tended to run out of steam fast. Just another thing she knew about him, that few else did.
"Because it's the only thing I've been certain of in my life! I may not have it all together but at least I know how to love someone. I can love people - with all my heart; my friends, my family - but that seems to be something you're incapable of! Clearly, you don't feel anything for anyone! The only reason you're marrying Usagi is because her family has the connections and financial backing you need to run off and start your stupid business!" confusion crossed his face.
"Who told you that?"
"It doesn't even enter into your mind that I might be able to make you happy, that I know you better than she does and that I love you despite your faults." she threw her hands up at his blank expression.
"Forget it, just forget me altogether! You're really good at that, don't you know?" She spun round and stomped to her room, and he to his. She jumped when she heard him yell out.
"What the hell did you do to my bed?"
Grabbing her bag, she shoved clothes into it and her feet into the closest shoes she could find. She ran out the door, onto the block, and didn't stop until her body gave out and she fell to the ground, clutching her sides in pain as the world went black.
What do you want to watch tonight?" Minako stared at her roommate in disbelief. He was holding the remote out to her, an unreadable expression on his face.
"You're asking me? I don't know! You never let me pick!"
"Why don't you know? Girls are supposed to know what they want, that's what they say!"
"Well let me see what's on-"
"Because it would be really fucked up for them to just always be pretending to know what they want when they really don't! They are living a lie! Who does that?" Silence reigned over the apartment as he sunk low into the sofa.
"You got into it with Usagi again, didn't you?"
"Ever thought of finding someone else, someone who could make you happy?"
"I am happy with her...when we aren't fighting."
"First off, I don't believe it. You could totally be with someone who appreciates you, even though you're sometimes an-"
"I want to watch the game."
"Miss? Miss?" Minako moaned as bright lights woke her, "I think she's waking up! Hold on honey, we've called an ambulance!"
'I don't want to be conscious yet, make it all go away.'
She'd never known she could will herself into a coma, but that's certainly what it felt like as everything went dark once again.
Minako trudged down the hall to her apartment, certain she was about to face death. It had been almost a week since she'd stepped foot inside, and had alternated between the same two outfits since she'd run away. The stay at the hospital was, thankfully, short. Rei had also been willing to put her up for the last few days. Unfortunately, they were no where near the same size in clothing. Even less so since she'd lost all that weight, and she was certain Rei suspected her of sort of illness, just unsure of exactly what. Minako felt bad for keeping the secret from her best friend, but she had the bad habit of running her mouth about. She took a deep breath and slid the key into the door just as her roommate opened it. She stumbled inside, still holding the key as he yanked it open. She dropped it, ready to run when he grabbed her arm and shut the door behind them.
"Why aren't you at work?" she asked, avoiding his stony gaze.
"Where have you been? I've been calling you every day but you don't answer, going off without letting anyone know where you are or if you're safe! Your mother has been worried sick, and I've had to cover for your ass just so you can keep your job!"
"I didn't ask you to!" she shouted, wrenching her arm from him and stepping back. She tried to go around him, to her room, but he blocked her way. For someone who avoided confrontation like the plague he sure did it a lot lately. "I'm fine on my own!"
"Of course not, you're great at handling everything by yourself. Suffering quietly in your closet of a bedroom, letting me walk all over you. What's wrong, little mouse? Worried that after missing a week of work I'll have more to pile on you?" he snarled, and stomped over to the island, he lifted a letter from the pile they kept and shoved it in her face.
"When were you going to tell me something was wrong with you?" his voice softened, and his eyes became tired, and Minako couldn't bring herself to admit the reason his eyes were puffy was because he might have been crying for her. "The hospital has been mailing these every other day."
"Did you read them?"
"No, should I?" he tore open the envelope, which she snatched from him quickly.
"That's illegal, stupid! And they're just desperate for money, it's from the collection department. I took a few trips to the ER last year I haven't gotten around to paying off. It's nothing, so don't go poking your nose in my business."
"You're certain, you're not sick? I mean, you've lost a lot of weight and your complexion is a bit off these days." he looked at the letter distrustfully, eying the seemingly harmless paper.
"I'm fine," she stated, tossing it in the trash, and making to go through the rest.
"So, I've been worrying all week for nothing." she stole a glance, watching the disbelief and relief wash over his face. "Thank God."
"You're going to call Usagi for me."
"Why would I do that?"
"Because of you she ended it."
"Oh, because of what I said..."
"No, because when I found the stash of letters matching the one you just threw away, she decided it meant that I cared about you too much. She seemed of the opinion that I shouldn't worry over someone who would try to break us up. That I must really love you, to call your mother just to find you."
"Your fault. You only talk to her parents when you absolutely have to." she joked, watching him as he sat on the couch, sighing heavily. He didn't love her, didn't care about her at all. So why was he so stressed out? Unsuccessful in her search, she tossed out the junk mail, wondering how she could end this awkward conversation and leave.
"Never mind calling her, it is my fault, I guess." he sighed, flipping out his phone and going through it. "In retrospect I did behave with greater fervor than a friend would. You know how many times I called you? I went to all your favorite stores, that crappy motel you stay at when I kick you out, the house you grew up in. I couldn't find you, and it made me feel bad. You know how I hate when I feel bad."
She nodded slightly, not trusting herself with words.
"On Thursday I stayed here all day, hoping to catch you when you came home. I kept thinking, 'Why don't you call me yet?'. Over and over, I haven't been able to get you out of my head. Seems to be that way every time you're not around. Maybe I like you after all, a little. "
"You think so?" she turned to him, hands squeezing the counter until her knuckles went white. He didn't say anything for a minute, and then turned to look at her, setting his phone down.
"You love me?" he stood, straightening his shirt and pulling his cuffs the way he always did.
"Yes, more than anything." she whispered, staring at her scuffed shoes. They had been pinching her toes all week, and she couldn't stop tripping over them. Her plan had been to get something more comfortable and leave before he could find her, now she was so embarrassed by the way he kept his eyes locked on her face she feared she might die.
Next thing she knew he was crossing the room and his arms were around her, with her leaning into him instantly. He was warm, and smelled the way she imagined he would. When he bent down and kissed her cheek, it was as if the world stopped turning, just so it could celebrate this moment with her.
Minako typed away at her emails, humming a song she heard on the radio that day. She was almost done with all the work her 'boss' had shoved on her that day. She heard him and his little girlfriend arguing in the kitchenette, for some reason sounds echoed louder next to the appliances.
Maybe they would break up this time, and even if they didn't she could always hope. That woman treated him something awful, but she suspected he put up with it because her family had money, and her father was his boss's boss. Rumors had been going around that his wildest ideas would come true if he married her, he'd run off with all the company's best employees and leave those like Minako in their dead end, paper-pushing jobs. Bets had been placed on how long he would last on his own, if she would say yes to his proposal, and who he would take along for the ride.
No matter what, she always supported him, he had what it took to go far, he was brilliant. Even when the others ganged up on her about how foolish he was to plot against his girlfriend's father; he'd been offered a better position and some were saying he'd take it and ditch after everyone got their yearly bonuses.
The front door slammed, and she knew it wouldn't be long before he came to the door, asking her to hang out with him and making it seem as though he were doing her some honor by gracing her with his presence. Minako grabbed her hairbrush and ran it through her waist length hair a few times, retying the ribbon he'd given her. The only time he'd ever given her a gift, it was for her birthday and he'd been a month late. She stood just as the familiar knock came. Maybe tonight he would realize what he could have, instead of the nothing that he did.
She woke with a start, sitting up in bed. But it wasn't her bed, it was much larger, for one thing. There was also the warm body lying next to her.
"You're awake," she looked into his matching eyes, recalling the night before. It was the best night of her life, hands down.
"You snore." he said, pulling away the covers, getting up and stretching.
"I do not!" she huffed, the goofy smile on her face falling, she felt the urge to get up too and show him how cool she could be about this. But it was Saturday, and she didn't get much sleep the night before. She settled back in, truly enjoying the feel of his sheets for the first time. She had wondered for so long how it would be when he finally accepted her feelings. She closed her eyes, listening to him get dressed.
The next thing she knew, she was waking up in her bed, the sunlight streaming through her little window told her it was late afternoon. She sat up, looking around. Had it been a dream? Either way, it was wonderful. She looked at the clock on her nightstand, frowning. A piece of paper covered the digital numbers, and she picked it up, turning it over and unfolding it. His face was angry, and his finger pointed the way hers often did when she was scolding him.
'How dare you fall asleep in my bed the same day I send everything to the dry cleaner! Minus ten cute points!'
"What? We have a washing machine! Cute points? He's such a jerk!" she crumpled up the paper and threw it across her tiny room. She fell back on her bed, feeling giddy. Maybe he would start leaving love notes, maybe even at the office. Would he want to tell everyone at work right away? She laughed, picturing Une lecturing the two of them on having relations in the workplace. She was on cloud nine the rest of the day.
Three blissful weeks. She counted the days over and over on her calendar, squealing in delight. One more week and they would have their first anniversary!
"Minako...I've been doing some thinking."
"What is it?" she asked, watching as he made himself a sandwich. He didn't say anything, instead lifting his plate and walking around the counter.
"What are we even doing?" he sighed heavily, sinking into the couch next to her, she realized he wouldn't make eye contact with her.
"Usagi and I...we met up last night at Sario's, you know the place, she's always loved it, God knows why, but yeah, we were together and we did a lot of talking."
Something filled the pit of her stomach with fear, and sickness, like she was going to throw up. Minako covered her mouth as Heero continued to talk, forcing tears back. Rejection, like a hot knife was coming, later than she thought it would, she thought she was safe. They were happy together, weren't they? He couldn't just act like nothing had happened, could he? Why was he doing this to her now?
"Is it money?"
"What?" he turned and looked at her, almost coldly, "Money?"
"Because I don't have any, like she does."
Neither one of them said anything, although Minako felt he expected her to. This was her chance to let it go and bow out gracefully, though she was totally willing to beg at that very moment and even fall to her knees. Nothing would ever hurt her like his next words.
"Usagi and I have history, and it was stupid of me to throw it all away, and let you get between us, really-"
Minako stood up too quickly and sunk to the floor, gripping the coffee table hard and knocking over his soda. Brown liquid spread like wildfire, dripping over the side and into the rug she remembered Heero getting for Christmas from his future in-laws. She cried out loud, louder than she thought she would when the pain came. Heero was standing above her, confusion and maybe a little bit of sadness etched into his face.
"I'm just going to bed early, I hope you and Usagi are very happy together!"
Minako stumbled into her room, still clutching her stomach, biting her lip hard and wincing at the additional pain. Bolting the door, she let herself slide down to the floor, wishing that everything were different. There was no sound from the other side, and she knew there was no denying that she was disappointed he hadn't come after her. But then it was a feeling she was incredibly familiar with. At work it would come and go, like the pain which grew more frequent of the two. She vaguely wished she didn't have to go in the next day, but she would and put on a brave face while she was at it, knowing full well that Usagi would be coming in to assert her dominance, to flaunt her victory in winning Heero. He was beautiful and intelligent, and Minako knew he was no more than a prize to her nemesis.
Minako woke in a room of white, the strong scent of Pine-Sol wafting through her nose. The machine next to her bed made a soft beeping noise every few seconds, and her mother was dozing in the chair across from the bed. A knock came from around the corner of the room, and an older woman wearing a white coat stepped in. She smiled at Minako, looking altogether too happy.
"How are you feeling this morning? Any pain?" the woman's voice was very soft, Minako almost couldn't hear her, but maybe she just didn't want to wake her mother. The woman had the habit of asking millions of questions anytime any little thing happened.
"You're looking better today, vital signs are good. I just wanted to see you before I let your handsome visitor in." she set the clipboard into the rack on the bed, and waved good-bye.
She shook her head, a sudden wave of nausea coming at the thought of speaking. She tried to remember what had happened that made her land in here. As she thought her headache worsened, and her mother woke up. Two strides and Minako was in her arms, leaning forward even a little hurt her back and she tried to push her mother away.
"Oh, honey! I'm so glad you're awake, finally! We were so worried about you, I wasn't sure you were going to make it! The doctors said..."
'Who is we?' Minako thought as her mother stood, staring at the door. Minako leaned to the left, trying to peak around the corner.
"Who is it?"
"Honey, I'm going to go down to the cafeteria and see about breakfast for you! I'll be back in a bit..." her mother grabbed her purse and headed out with haste.
Minako sighed, pushing herself into a sitting position. She twiddled her thumbs, waiting for whoever it was to come out. Familiar leather shoes appeared first, then came the suit he wore on Tuesdays. Memories of their fight and her trip in the ambulance came flooding back to her. Surgery had been scheduled for later in the day, they would attempt to remove the tumor and if that didn't work then it would be chemotherapy and radiation soon after. If that didn't work, the amount of time she had left...
"Heero? Why are you here?"
"Why? That's all you can say?" he began pacing, something he only did when he was nervous. "What the fuck am I supposed to do? Jesus, I came over here as soon as I heard from everyone in your department that you fucking have cancer ."
Minako flinched as he said the word. She'd tried for so long to hide it from everyone, from him. It was strange to hear it from his mouth. "You didn't have to come," He stopped and looked at her.
"You're my friend, how am I supposed to react when I find out something like this? Come on, getting into one fight doesn't mean I'm not going to worry about you. But you're so good at that, making everyone worry, keeping everything bottled up until it explodes in your face."
She didn't say anything, just hoped her mother would come back in soon. Though she suspected her mother thought she was doing her daughter some kind of favor by steering clear for what felt like hours. She didn't want him to see her like this, so sick and disgusting to everyone who had to look at her. He sighed heavily, rubbing his eyes. Was he tearing up? Surely she was imagining this, the great Heero Yuy was the manliest of men.
"Minako," Shit, how could he say her name like that?
"Rei said you were in the hospital, I ran out before she could tell me more. What...so what's happening?"
He sat at the edge of the bed, looking into her eyes, waiting for a response. She turned her head, gazing out the window.
"Well, some patients with pancreatic cancer that can be surgically removed are cured. However, in more than eighty percent of patients the tumor has already spread and cannot be completely removed at the time of diagnosis..." he frowned at her.
"I don't want statistics from a robot, I already know the survival rate for patients with pancreatic cancer. I want to know how you're doing right now. If you're in pain, if you need anything, if there's anything I can do...if there was anything I could say...to...to - make things better for you. Do you need me to go get you some of those disgusting sweaters you wear? It's cold in here, and-" He choked, and wiped at his eyes with the sleeve of her favorite suit.
"You don't have to pretend last night never happened, you know how I feel about you and I really don't want you near me, when you'd rather be with her." He looked at her, eyes wide with anger.
"God, Minako! I came here because I care about you! You don't need to be so selfish, not right now."
"Why not? Because I'm dying?" why couldn't he just feel the same way?
"Because this is more important than some stupid fight! And you aren't dying!" he yelled, turning his head to the door to check nobody was about to walk in, namely Mrs. Aino.
"What's wrong with me? Why don't you love me?" she cried, covering her face. "I know I'm gross right now, and that I smell sick! But that can change! I can fight it, some people survive if they can remove the tumor and mine is scheduled for this afternoon! I can get better, and grow my hair back out if you like it that way."
"Minako, it's not about the way you look-"
"Is the color wrong? Usagi's is a different shade, should I color it like hers? I can buy better clothes, something more fancy, and no more sweaters! I'll change myself for you! Please, give me a chance!" she sobbed, rocking back and forth in pain. She clutched her sides, wishing the signs of her illness wouldn't show up when he was around.
"It doesn't work that way...I can't like you just because you're willing to change everything about yourself for me. You can't make a decision without involving other people! If you're going to fight this, do it for yourself! Be more like me, be selfish and self-centered, and live your life the way you want to. You don't need anyone else to give you reason to live!"
Minako leaned heavily against her pillows, feeling very sick and tired.
"My pain medication is wearing off, can you get the nurse? And my Mom, I just want my Mom." she continued to cry quietly, hiding her face from him.
His shoes clicked against the linoleum, turning the corner of the room, around the bathroom, and disappearing from sight.
A/n: Revised and re-posted, hope you enjoyed. R&R!